Former Grazings Committee members in Mangersta, Lewis, (pictured above by Elsie Mitchell) have expressed “astonishment at the continuing unprofessional and misleading behaviour of the Crofting Commission” following a public announcement.
Mangersta is one of two crofting villages in Lewis where the Grazings Commmittee has been dismissed by the Commission over management issues. Crofting law expert, Brian Inkster, earlier condemned the Commission’s actions as both “unreasonable” and “illegal”.
In a statement, the former Grazings Committee members said: “The Commission just blunders on. We were astonished to see from their web-site that they had ‘arranged to meet with the shareholders’ in both Upper Coll and Mangersta grazings in mid-May.’
“We wish it to be known that we have heard absolutely nothing about any meeting, far less agreed to participate in it. If and when the Commission proposes a meeting, we will take legal advice on the appropriateness of attending.
“We can only express astonishment at the continuing unprofessional and misleading behaviour of the Crofting Commission. One would have thought that the basic courtesy of consulting about a possible meeting and the form it might take would not have been beyond them, before making a public announcement about a meeting nobody else knows anything about”.
Earlier the Commission seemed to rebuff all criticism of its behaviour, instead turning the blame on to the committees. It stated:"It is important that all shareholders have the fullest information about the differing roles and duties of the grazings committee and the grazings clerk.
"The committees are responsible for managing the rights of all crofters within the common grazings in accordance with their own, approved regulations.
"The role of the clerk is to receive and pay-out all shareholders monies in accordance with their approved regulations as set out in the Crofting Act 1993.
"With this in mind the Commission has arranged to meet with the shareholders in both Upper Coll and Mangersta Common Grazings in mid-May to advance the process which has already begun in these townships."